The cast of pro-war Republican candidates again argued for aggressive sanctions and pre-emptive strikes on Iran in Thursday’s Republican Presidential debate. But the real battle was between Rep. Ron Paul on the one side and Rep. Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum on the other.
Ron Paul argued that jumping the gun on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program would lead America down the road to another bloody, expensive war.
“To me the greatest danger is that we will have a president that will overreact, and we will soon bomb Iran,” he said. “We ought to really sit back and think, not jump the gun and believe that we are going to be attacked. That’s how we got into that useless war in Iraq and lost so much.”
He went on to say it makes more sense to stop threatening Iran in our rhetoric and our policies and open up a diplomatic engagement.
Senator Rick Santorum, in defiance of the evidence and everything that is known about Iran, said the Shiite Iranian leadership is the equivalent of al Qaeda, a Sunni jihadist group. Escaping an explanation about how an entire country would aim to be incinerated in a nuclear retaliation by bombing Israel and the U.S. with atomic weapons, he made explicit how certain war would be under his leadership.
Michele Bachmann decided to take another route of fact-less war rhetoric: “We know without a shadow of a doubt that Iran will take a nuclear weapon, they will use it to wipe our ally, Israel, off the face fo the map. And they’ve stated they will use it against the United States of America. We would be fools and naves to ignore their purpose and their plan.”
Ron Paul responded by reiterating the facts, that there is “no U.N. evidence” of an Iranian nuclear program. Indeed, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, concluded that Iran is not diverting nuclear materials towards a weapons program.
The GOP field for President of the United States is virtually unanimous in their aims for military confrontation with Iran, a country that has not been shown to be a credible national security threat to Israel, the U.S., or any other country. Ron Paul exhibited his variance with the establishment by arguing for peace.